Scoutmaster Musings - Stoves for Scouts

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Scoutmaster Musings

Stoves for Scouts
Hey, first of all, if you have some suggestions for something I should write about here, give a shout. Or, if you have a contrary viewpoint to something I've written, I'd like to hear it - I'm always learning new stuff and new ways to do things better.

Anyway, each patrol in our troop has a two-burner Coleman green propane campstove. They are sturdy and have worked well for years. The troop purchased two new ones two years ago and may need to get one more for the new scouts this spring. These stoves work, are easy to use, and have a big, flat cooking surface.

So, here's the debate I have going on with myself. Every campout, we consume a couple 'disposable' containers of propane. The $2.50 green metal bottles. I just hate seeing so many of these getting tossed away. The cost and the waste are frustrating to me. Also, the regulators that connect fuel canister to stove occasionally stop working and they are not adjustable so that is a $17.00 expense. What can we do instead?

Campfire Cooking - the adults often have dutch oven meals or other food cooked in coals instead of on our stove. The scouts ooh and aah, but don't often make their own meals that way. I think this is much more fun, but it takes planning and longer meal prep time. Most everywhere we camp for weekends allow campfires and are often on private property so there is little impact from other campers throughout the year. This means consuming firewood is not a problem.

Backpacking Stoves - this is what I'd like to promote more. They are smaller so less space in the patrol box is used up. The fuel is less expensive. The canister waste is eliminated. By using them on weekend campouts, scouts going on high adventure trips are already experts with them.

There is significant training needed for scouts to successfully and safely use these stoves. Filling, pressurizing, lighting, and balancing are the common problem areas. This would be a good opportunity for experienced scouts to teach beginners and for the new guys to get approval for their new skills when they master the stoves.

I'm planning on starting new scouts with the Coleman propane stoves and graduate them to the smaller stoves as they become experts. Ensuring scouts view it as an accomplishment to 'get to' use the smaller stoves is key.

The adults will also need to be trained and be responsible for managing the fuel storage as well as monitoring any filling or lighting of stoves.

I'm planning on providing each patrol with two stoves and a grill on which to balance pots. This will replace the large Colemans while keeping equivalent functionality.

I'm also going to design a card similar to the Totin Chip or Fireman Chit that scouts will earn when they demonstrate abilities with the stoves. Maybe the Chef Chit or Cooking Chit?

I'd like to hear what your troop does for cooking - stoves, fires, or microwaves?

Scout On
Posted: 14:34 01-31-2007 123
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